Iraq receives Saudi envoy credentials
BAGHDAD - Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari received the new Saudi ambassador's credentials on Thursday despite calls for his expulsion after Riyadh executed a leading Shiite cleric.
Thamer al-Sabhan is the first Baghdad-based Saudi ambassador in a quarter century, after relations were cut following ex-president Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait.
Jaafari's office said he met with Sabhan and discussed Iraqi-Saudi relations and Baghdad's efforts to ease tensions between Riyadh and Tehran that exploded following the kingdom's execution of Nimr al-Nimr.
Nimr's execution sparked outrage across the Shiite world. Protesters torched Riyadh's embassy and consulate in Iran, leading the kingdom and other Gulf states to cut diplomatic ties with Tehran.
Thousands of people, including fighters from powerful Shiite paramilitary forces, have protested in Iraq against Saudi Arabia, and called for Sabhan to be expelled from the Shiite-majority country.